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Farmicide


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

In 1978, farmers (owners and tenants) and farm workers were the most common jobs in eight U.S. states.1 But the number of farmers in the U.S. has been on the decline for a century, and if grain prices continue to fall we could be facing the largest number of farm closures since the 1980s in the years to come.

U.S. farms once numbered around 6 million (circa 1945), but in 2015 this number had dropped to just over 2 million — about the same number that existed in the mid-1800s. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that total U.S. acres farmed have also dropped a significant 24 percent, bringing it to just over 900 million acres.2

Farmers that have been working the land for generations are increasingly being forced out of business, unable to make a profit. A worldwide grain glut and rising costs for seeds, fertilizer and equipment have led to some farmers losing more than $120 per acre.

Others, particularly grain farmers, are only able to make ends meet by taking on second non-farming jobs. According to WSJ:3

From the early 1800s until the Great Depression, the number of U.S. farms grew steadily as pioneers spread west of the Mississippi River. Families typically raised a mix of crops and livestock on a few hundred acres of land at most.

After World War II, high-horsepower tractors and combines enabled farmers to cover more ground. Two decades ago, genetically engineered seeds helped farmers grow more.

Farms grew bigger and more specialized. Large-scale operations now account for half of U.S. agricultural production … As farm sizes jumped, their numbers fell … “

USDA Spends $7 Billion to Bail Out Farmers

In October 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would be making more than $7 billion in payments to bail out farmers due to market downturns that occurred during the 2015 crop year.4

The payments were intended to “provide reassurance to America’s farm families” affected by low commodity prices and unfavorable growing conditions.

As farming has transitioned from a once localized industry to an international one, it’s brought with it a new set of challenges for U.S. farmers. Spurred in part by a growing demand for biofuel, about 180 million additional acres of corn and soybeans have been planted around the world over the last decade.

“Corn and wheat output has never been higher, and never has so much grain been bunkered away,” WSJ reported. However, U.S. farmers’ share of global grain has fallen significantly, from 65 percent in the ’70s to 30 percent today, “giving them less sway over prices.”5

Changes in the strength of the dollar have also led to major market changes, like Russia changing from the world’s largest wheat importer to the largest exporter. WSJ continued:6

Farmers there [in Russia] planted even more wheat last year to take advantage of the U.S. dollar’s recent climb against many currencies.

That encourages Russian farmers to export as much wheat as possible for dollars, which convert to about twice the number of rubles they did three years ago. The strong dollar also allows farmers in some countries to undercut U.S. prices.”

Minnesota Farmers Produce Record Amounts of Corn and Soy Amidst Low Crop Prices

As in much of the U.S., farmers in Minnesota faced back-to-back losses in 2015 and 2016, with an average loss of $58 per acre for corn and $3 per acre on soybeans in 2015.7 According to the Star Tribune:8

“Despite [losses], bankers around the region refinanced farmers’ debt and lines of credit on favorable terms. But with a second year of losses ahead for many farms, patience among lenders is running thin. A credit crunch now looms that would mark a decisive turn in the farm economy.”

After years of steady growth, farm lending by Minnesota-based banks plateaued in 2014, as farmers have bought less equipment and farmland in the wake of falling crop prices. Still, many farmers are struggling to stay afloat.

During the current fiscal year, lenders in the state sent nearly 2,500 notices to farmers at risk of foreclosure (the notices explain the farmer’s right to mediation before foreclosure occurs). This is a 20 percent increase in such notices since 2015.9

Debt and Delinquencies Rising Fast Among Midwest Farmers

Like in Minnesota, Midwestern farmers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana are also facing growing debts they can no longer afford to pay off. When grain prices were high, many farmers took advantage of credit to expand their farms. Then when grain prices tumbled, took on more debt to try to plant their way out.

Reuters analyzed federal data on agricultural lending in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa and found nonperforming bank farm loans increased to more than $288 million in the second quarter of 2016, up from $132.5 million in the second quarter of 2013, which is the year after a corn and soybean price peak.10

Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, which apply to farms with less than about $4 million in debt, also rose significantly from 2013 to 2016. Also worrisome is the number of “extremely leveraged” farmers, who have debts that total more than 71 percent of their assets.

This category doubled from 2012 to 2015, and according to the Reuters analysis, about 1 in 3 U.S. farms raising grain and other row crops, not including cotton, were highly or very highly leveraged in 2015, which means their debts equaled at least 41 percent of their assets. According to Reuters:11

“Such statistics match up with the stories of agrarian hubris and family desperation that are piling up in coffee shops and courtrooms across the Midwest. The common narrative is a struggle against low grain prices and high debt after years of credit-fueled expansion.”

Are We Headed for Another Farm Crisis Like the One in the 1980s?

Is all of this a sign that we’re heading for another farm crisis, like the one that occurred in the 1980s? A combination of low crop prices, overwhelming farmer debt, poor growing conditions and other economic and political factors led to massive farm closings — up to 250 an hour, by some estimates.12

A report by Environmental Working Group (EWG) senior analyst, economics, and Craig Cox, EWG Senior VP for agriculture and natural resources, suggests the current farm crisis is more of a myth than anything, spurred by the fatally flawed federal farm subsidy program that continues to “bail out” wealthy farmers, whether they need help or not. According to the report:13

“Since 1995, fully 77 percent of subsidy dollars have gone to just 10 percent of all recipients, most of them members of complex partnerships and joint operations who may never set foot on a farm — let alone drive a tractor.

… The farm subsidy lobby is working overtime to use what it calls a ‘farm crisis’ to deflect well-deserved criticism of the fatally flawed federal subsidy system that they’re desperate to protect. Current economic conditions, however, are nowhere near those of the real farm crisis in the 1980s.

The farm businesses that collect the lion’s share of subsidies are not doing nearly as badly as the industry argues, especially compared to the rest of America’s families.

The federal farm subsidy system is badly broken. Help should be going to those families that depend on their farms for income and are struggling to stay afloat as production and land costs react to lower crop prices. But that’s not what’s happening.”

Federal Crop Insurance Rules Discourage Farmers From Using Cover Crops

The use of cover crops, or planting non-cash crops during the off months, has the potential to increase yields and improve the environment.

Cover crops more than double carbon inputs into the soil,14 and when you add carbon back into the soil the carbon feeds mycorrhizal fungi that eventually produce glomalin, which may be even better than humic acid at retaining water.

This means you naturally limit your irrigation needs and make your garden or fields more resilient during droughts. Cover crops also improve soil structure and reduce erosion.

Together with other regenerative farming techniques, such as diversifying and using cattle, sheep and chickens to graze and fertilize cash crop fields, the use of cover crops helped one farmer save about $200 per acre compared to his conventional farming days, with similar yield — or better.15

Such techniques represent the future of true sustainable farming, but crop-insurance programs, which should be encouraging them, are stymying interest. Kansas regenerative farmer Gail Fuller experienced this firsthand, when his federally funded crop insurance company denied his six-figure claim for compensation during the 2012 drought.

Their basis was Fuller’s use of cover crops, which the company requires be killed off before the cash-crop is planted. High winds prevented Fuller from doing so, however, and highlighted one reason why many farmers are reluctant to try different farming practices.

Fuller took the case to court and was eventually given the payment, but there’s still a perception among farmers that using cover crops could put their insurance payments at risk. Unfortunately, only 2.6 percent of U.S. croplands are planted with cover crops.16

Food & Environment Reporting Network noted that nearly half of farmers who say they’re interested in trying cover crops hold back because of concerns about crop insurance, and a 2015 National Wildlife Federation survey found “over one-third reported that they’d been told by an agent or adjustor that using cover crops could put a claim at risk of denial.”17,18

Will Young Farmers Pave the Way for Positive Change?

Our current food system is driven by policy and corporate control. And while those who promote it claim that it’s the only way to feed an ever-growing population, it is in fact a highly unsustainable system. It may be financially profitable for a few large corporations, but it’s driving the rest of us, including the last “real” farmers, into the poor-house.

While young farmers without much savings are among the most vulnerable to shifts in crop prices, the film “The Greenhorns” demonstrates how we can collectively transform the current industrial monoculture, chemical-based agricultural paradigm into a healthier, more sustainable way of feeding ourselves and our neighbors, while restoring the health of our ailing planet.

“‘The Greenhorns’ documentary film … explores the lives of America’s young farming community — its spirit, practices, and needs. It is the filmmaker’s hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can build the case for those considering a career in agriculture — to embolden them, to entice them, and to recruit them into farming. The production of The Greenhorns is part of our grassroots nonprofit’s larger campaign for agricultural reform …

Today’s young farmers are dynamic entrepreneurs, stewards of place. They are involved in local politics, partnering with others, inventing new social institutions, working with mentors, starting their careers as apprentices, borrowing money from the bank, putting in long hours, taking risks, innovating, experimenting… These young farmers have vision: a prosperous, satisfying, sustainable food system.”

You can take part in the revolution in a number of ways. If you’re a young person deciding on a career, consider organic sustainable farming. You may even consider it if you’re looking for a mid-life change. At the very least, you can get personally involved in growing food for your own family.

If you’re not inclined to grow your own food, sourcing your foods from a local farmer is one of your best bets to ensure you’re getting something wholesome. And, you’ll be supporting the small farms — not the mega-farming corporations — in your area.

Another option is to join a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Doing so can make a big difference in how well a small family farm can survive and thrive. As a CSA member, you buy a “share” of the vegetables the farm produces, and each week during growing season (usually May through October) you receive a weekly delivery of fresh food.

Joining a CSA is a powerful investment not only in your own health, but in that of your local community and economy as well. If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate CSAs and other farm-fresh foods in your area:

? EatWild.com

EatWild.com provides lists of certified organic farmers known to produce safe, wholesome raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other organic produce. Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass-fed products.

? Weston A. Price Foundation

The Weston A. Price Foundation has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

? Grassfed Exchange

The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass-fed meats across the U.S.

? Local Harvest

This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats and many other goodies.

? Farmers Markets

A national listing of farmers markets.

? Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals

The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

? Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.

? FoodRoutes

The FoodRoutes “Find Good Food” map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.

? The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO “organic” production from authentic organic practices.

? RealMilk.com

If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws. California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.


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Try This Guilt-Free, Antioxidant-Rich Apple Crumble Recipe Today


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Recipe by Dr. Mercola

 

Apple crumble is usually served during festive occasions, but its origin is far from cheerful, as the dish became popular in the U.K. during World War I when people made the most out of the strict rationing of various foods. Flour, butter and sugar were substituted for pastry and mixed with different fruits such as apples, blackberries and/or rhubarb, paving the way for the crumble that people love today.[1]

 

This Health-Boosting Apple Crumble Recipe adds a healthy twist to this well-known dessert. Healthy spices and the mild sweetness of coconut oil create a flavorful fruity feast. Whether you have a spoonful or two of this apple crumble, you can be sure that there won’t be any drastic consequences to your health.

 

Ingredients:

 

For the filling

4 organic green apples, thinly sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1 pinch of nutmeg

 

For the topping

1 1/2 cups almond meal or Dr. Mercola’s coconut flour

1/4 cup grass-fed butter or Dr. Mercola’s organic coconut oil, softened

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt

Pinch of nutmeg

1 Tbsp. of grass-fed butter or coconut oil, to grease the pan

 

Procedure:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping until completely incorporated, and set aside.
  4. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×9-inch baking dish.
  5. Place the apples in the dish and cover evenly with the topping.
  6. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove cover and bake for an additional 25 minutes. The dish is done when the apples are soft and the topping browns.

 

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes

 

This Health-Boosting Apple Crumble Recipe Is a Delight for Everyone

 

Unlike apple pie, apple crumble requires less technical skill since there are no pie crusts or lattice details to think about. The dish is quite easy to make, and even your kids can help prepare this dessert, provided that parental guidance is present, of course. Moreover, apple crumble is versatile, since it can be used as a topping for grass-fed yogurt or parfaits, or eaten on its own as a dessert or healthy snack.

 

Apples Are Packed With Antioxidants That Are Great for Your Health

 

With the variety of colors, textures and flavors apples have to offer, it’s not a surprise that these fruits are the second most popular fruit in the U.S.[2] Apart from being delicious, crunchy and juicy, the health benefits that you can get from eating apples are timeless.

 

Apples are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin A, which serves as a powerful antioxidant that assists in fighting infections and scavenging inflammatory free radicals. However, most of the fruit’s antioxidant content is found in the peel, so make sure to leave it on when eating apples or using it in your recipes.

 

Meanwhile, vitamin C in apples enhances immune system function and slows down aging, and B vitamins thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) and pyridoxine (B6) work in tandem to release powerful enzymes that boost metabolism and other important bodily functions.

 

On the other hand, nutrients like iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and potassium were shown to contribute to apples’ abilities in controlling heart rate and blood pressure levels, while fiber was linked to helping prevent LDL or bad cholesterol absorption. Lastly, studies have shown apples’ potential in decreasing risk for conditions such as:[3],[4],[5],[6]

 

  • Neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

 

Unfortunately, most commercially sold apples are contaminated with harmful pesticides. In fact, the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2016 Dirty Dozen list ranked apples as the second most pesticide-contaminated fruit. In order to reap the health benefits of these fruits, make sure you purchase organic and GMO-free apples.

 

If you only have access to conventionally grown apples, briefly soak them first in a solution of 10 percent vinegar and 90 percent water to help eliminate some of the pesticides and bacteria.

 

Furthermore, apples are high in fructose, with a medium-sized apple containing a whopping 9.5 grams. Eating too many apples can lead your body’s fructose levels into overdrive, so always eat apples in moderation.

 

Why You Should Be a Fan of Coconut Flour

 

Coconut oil’s benefits have been emphasized time and time again, but it seems coconut flour will soon follow suit. This type of flour is made from fresh coconut meat after it’s pressed to create coconut milk and once most of the oil is extracted. This dried meat is then grated, with the finished product having a fine and powder-like texture.

 

Coconut flour can be used as a substitute to wheat- and grain-based flours in recipes, and delivers a mild and sweet coconut flavor and rich texture. I recommend using coconut flour for flour-based dishes since there is added nutrition you can get from it.

 

With 48 percent dietary fiber, coconut flour contains the highest percentage of dietary fiber out of the various flours available today. As such, it is very ideal for those suffering from insulin resistance or diabetes, since it won’t trigger spikes in blood sugar. Plus, coconut flour is also a good source of both protein and healthy fats, and is very low in carbohydrates (even lower than some vegetables).

 

When adding coconut flour into recipes, remember this general rule: You can replace up to 20 percent of the flour in the recipe with coconut flour, alongside an equal amount of liquid, without sacrificing the flavor or texture of the finished product.

 

If you’re completely substituting with coconut flour, keep in mind that you’ll need less coconut flour than grain-based flour. For example, if a recipe calls for a cup of grain-based flour, use one-quarter to one-third of coconut flour instead.

 

Mixing an organic, pastured egg per ounce of coconut flour is advisable too, since this takes the place of gluten and helps bind the mixture well. Raw honey, hemp powder, chia seeds or ground flax seeds (1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds in 3 tablespoons of water can be substituted for an egg) could also be used in case you don’t have eggs at home.

 

The high-fiber content causes the coconut flour to act like a sponge, and if you substitute the required flour in a recipe with 100 percent coconut flour, this can change the outcome of your dish.

 

Count on Cinnamon for a Flavor and Health Boost

 

What makes this apple crumble extra delicious is the blend of spices that enhances the fruit’s flavor, like cinnamon. This warm-hued spice is sold either in stick or powder form, and is popular because of its distinct fragrance and flavor. However, most people are unaware that this well-loved spice also yields positive effects on the body.

 

Minerals such as calcium, fiber and manganese are present in cinnamon, and this spice offers antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that all potentially play a role in:

 

Boosting antioxidant defenses

Enhancing cognitive function

Refining brain health

Assisting with weight loss

Helping treat sore throat and/or coughs

Preventing conditions like heart disease[7] and colon and liver cancers[8],[9]

Relieving ADHD symptoms[10],[11]

Helping diabetes patients by lowering blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity and slowing down the stomach’s emptying time to decrease sharp blood sugar rises after a meal

 

 

 


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Sauna Therapy May Reduce Risk of Dementia and Boost Brain Health


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

When it comes to improving your health, some of the simplest strategies can have a tremendous impact.

Sweating in a sauna, for example, has many great health benefits, including expelling of toxins, improving blood circulation, killing disease-causing microbes and improving mitochondrial function.

Research has even shown that regular sauna use correlates with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including lethal cardiovascular events, and may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Sauna Bathing Promotes Brain Health

Most recently, researchers in Finland — a country where most homes come equipped with a sauna — found that men who used a sauna four to seven times a week for an average length of 15 minutes had a 66 percent lower risk of developing dementia, and 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to men who used the sauna only once a week.1

More than 2,300 middle-aged men were followed for more than two decades in this study, and the results held even after other healthy lifestyle factors were taken into account, such as exercise and socioeconomic factors.

How Sauna Use Helps Boost Brain Function

There are many reasons why sauna use may boost brain health, including lowering inflammation and blood pressure, improving vascular function and enhancing relaxation and well-being.2

Other research3 has shown sauna use increases levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that increases focus and attention, as well as prolactin, which may promote myelin growth, helping your brain to function faster and repair nerve cell damage.

Researchers have also found a link between heat exposure and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons. BDNF also triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health.

Exercising in heat increases BDNF to a greater degree than exercise done at lower temperatures, suggesting heat stress (i.e., sauna use) is beneficial for brain health.4

They found that exercising in heat increased the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which is thought to stimulate cerebral output of BDNF. Heat stress also benefits your brain by:5

  • Preventing aggregation of proteins in your arteries and brain
  • Increasing production of dynorphin, which helps cool your body down. Although dynorphin has the opposite effect of endorphins, it sensitizes your brain to endorphins that your body produces
  • Increasing production of growth factors, which in turn promote the growth of brain neurons

Sauna Benefits Your Heart as Well

Previous findings by the same Finnish research team revealed that men who used the Finnish-style, dry heat sauna seven times per week also cut their risk of death from fatal heart problems in half, compared to those who used it only once a week. 6,7,8,9,10  

These findings remained stable even when confounding factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels were factored in. In regard to time, the greatest benefits were found among those who sweated it out for 19 minutes or more each session.

One mechanism for this effect is thought to be related to the fact that the heat places stress on your heart and body similar to that of exercise. Conversely, hyperthermic conditioning (i.e., acclimating yourself to heat independent of aerobic physical activity through sauna use) can also boost your exercise endurance.

It does this by inducing adaptations in your body that make it easier for you to perform when your body temperature is elevated. Stated another way; as your body is subjected to heat stress, it gradually becomes acclimated to the heat, prompting a number of beneficial changes and adaptations.

This includes increased blood flow to your heart and muscles (which increase athletic endurance) and increased muscle mass due to greater levels of heat-shock proteins and human growth hormone (HGH).

Compared to traditional saunas, athletes using infrared saunas also report greater recovery from strength and endurance training sessions.11

Heat, Sweat and Detoxification

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your sweat glands are one way of cleansing your skin and releasing toxins that build up in your cells. Lack of sweating may actually result in an increased toxic load over time, which in turn can adversely affect your heart and brain.

Compared to other detoxification strategies, sauna bathing has a number of benefits, and may be one of the best, if not the best, strategy to lower your toxic load in a natural way.

As discussed in my interview with Dr. George Yu, the mobilization of stored toxins can be further enhanced by taking niacin in conjunction with sauna bathing.

While still often downplayed by modern medicine as a means of detoxification, studies have shown that sweating can help excrete heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury,12 for example, all of which can have very serious health effects. 

In one such study, sweat generally exceeded plasma or urine concentrations of toxins. According to the authors, sweating “deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification,” adding that:13

  • Sweat may be an important route for excretion of cadmium when an individual is exposed to high levels
  • Sweat-inducing sauna use might provide a therapeutic method to increase elimination of toxic trace metals
  • Sweating should be the initial and preferred treatment of patients with elevated mercury levels

Other Health Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Sauna use may also help your body excrete nonbiological halides, like bromine or fluoride that displace iodine. This is particularly important if you have thyroid issues.

A lack of sweating or an inability to sweat is often a sign of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Hypothyroidism may be exacerbated by halides found in baked goods, soft drinks, pesticides, fire retardants and other products.

These halides bind to the same receptors in your thyroid used to capture iodine, necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. This results in a low production of thyroid hormone and symptoms of hypothyroidism.

The more you can excrete the halides (and reduce your exposure), the more iodine your body can use to produce thyroid hormones.

Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia have also experienced great results from using saunas to reduce discomfort and pain. In one small study, 44 patients with fibromyalgia found a reduction in pain between 33 and 77 percent.

Six months after the study ended, the participants continued to report a reduction in pain between 28 and 68 percent.14

Sauna therapy has also demonstrated benefits for patients with asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).15 Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis report positive effects from infrared sauna therapy specifically. After four weeks and eight treatments, pain and stiffness were significantly reduced and improvements were seen in fatigue.16

Anecdotally, one of my senior staff writers reports successfully treating all sorts of aches and pains using a portable tent-style low-EMF infrared sauna, including headaches and general pains associated with menstruation, stiff knees, shoulder and back pain, and even migraines.

She started using it four times a week for 30 minutes per session at 150 degrees by recommendation from her doctor after being diagnosed with lead and aluminum toxicity, and was pleasantly surprised to notice its acute effects on various aches and pains as well.

Different Types of Saunas

There are several different types of saunas to choose from these days, including:17

  1. Finnish sauna, either wet or dry
  2. Far-infrared saunas
  3. Near-infrared saunas (emitters and lamps)

The difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas (whether wet or dry) is that the Finnish-style sauna heats you up from the outside in, like an oven. The infrared sauna heats you from the inside out. Infrared saunas are particularly known for their ability to promote detoxification, and this is part of the reason for that.

By heating your tissues several inches deep, the infrared sauna can enhance your natural metabolic processes and blood circulation. It also helps oxygenate your tissues.

What’s the Difference Between Near- and Far-Infrared Saunas?

Near-infrared saunas have several additional benefits over the others, including far-infrared saunas. For starters, it penetrates your tissue more effectively than far-infrared because wavelengths under 900 nanometers (nm) in the near-infrared are not absorbed by water like the higher wavelengths in mid- and far-infrared, and thus can penetrate tissues more deeply.

When you look at the rainbow spectrum, the visible part of light ends in red. Infrared-A (near-infrared) is the beginning of the invisible light spectrum following red. This in turn is followed by infrared-B (mid-infrared) and infrared-C (far-infrared). While they cannot be seen, the mid- and far-infrared range can be felt as heat. This does not apply to near-infrared, however, which has a wavelength between 700 and 1,400 nm. As previously explained by Dr. Alexander Wunsch:

“Here you have only very low absorption by water molecules, and this is the reason why radiation has a very high transmittance. In other words, it penetrates very deeply into your tissue, so the energy distributes in a large tissue volume. This near-infrared A is not heating up the tissue so you will not feel directly any effect of heat.

This significantly changes when we increase the wavelength, let’s say, to 2,000 nm. Here we are in the infrared-B range and this already is felt as heat. And from 3,000 nm on to the longer wavelength, we have almost full absorption, mainly by the water molecule, and this is [felt as] heating.”

Near-Infrared Radiation Is Important for Optimal Health

The near-infrared range affects your health in a number of important ways,18 primarily through its interaction with chromophores in your body. Chromophores are molecules that absorb light, found in your mitochondria and in water molecules. To make sure the near-infrared rays can penetrate your skin, avoid wearing clothing when using a near-infrared sauna.

In your mitochondria, there’s a specific light-absorbing molecule called cytochrome c oxidase (cco), which is part of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and absorbs near-infrared light around 830 nm. Cco is involved in the energy production within the mitochondria. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — cellular energy — is the end product. ATP is the fuel your cells need for all of their varied functions, including ion transport, synthesizing and metabolism.

Most people don’t realize that light is an important and necessary fuel just like food.  When your bare skin is exposed to near-infrared light, cco will increase ATP production. It is also important to understand that near-infrared light is healing and repairing, and helps optimize many other biological functions. Its absence in artificial light sources like LEDs and fluorescents is what makes these light sources so dangerous to your health.

We now know that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of most health problems and chronic diseases, including many signs of aging. For these reasons, I strongly recommend using a sauna that offers a full spectrum of infrared radiation, not just far-infrared. Regular exposure to near-infrared through the sun and/or sauna is a powerful strategy to improve your health.

Also beware of the fact that most infrared saunas emit dangerous non-native EMFs. So, look for one that emits low or no non-native EMFs. To learn more about this issue, please see my interview with Steve Benda, who has spent many years developing low-EMF saunas. After searching for a long time, I finally found a near perfect full-spectrum infrared sauna that I hope to have made to my customized specifications in a few months, so stay tuned for this exciting development.

Be Mindful of Mineral Depletion When Frequently Sweating

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has written an excellent book, “Sauna Therapy,” which is the best resource I have read to date on sauna use.19 As a nutritional consultant, Wilson recommends not spending more than 20 minutes in a near-infrared lamp sauna unless you’re also on a nutritional balancing program.

The reason for this is because the near-infrared can produce profound changes in your body chemistry. While most of these changes will be beneficial, if you have very unbalanced mineral ratios you could potentially worsen the problem.

My staff writer, whom I mentioned earlier, experienced this problem as well. After several weeks of regular sauna use, she developed symptoms suggestive of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is one of the minerals that are more rapidly depleted when you sweat a lot.

The symptoms, which included a persistent “thick” headache and muscle spasms, began to dissipate within 15 minutes of taking an extra-large dose of magnesium, and disappeared completely after two days of upping her magnesium dosage.

Many other minerals can also be lost through sweating. To replace lost minerals, Wilson recommends taking kelp and using a high-quality natural (unprocessed) salt in your cooking. My preference is Himalayan salt in combination with magnesium as most of us are deficient in magnesium.

Wilson also provides instructions for how to build your own near-infrared sauna. If you currently have a far-infrared tent sauna, you could simply add one or two 10-watt infrared heat lamps as these types of bulbs emit near- and mid-infrared radiation. If you have a larger wooden sauna you could use a few 250-watt heat lamp bulbs. You could also add a small air purifier that produces negative ions that further enhances sauna benefits.

I have been taking an early morning 30-minute infrared sauna nearly daily for the last six months and enjoying swimming in my unheated pool afterwards, which at this time of the year is below 50 degrees, providing over a 120-degree contrast. But I feel great after I get out of the pool.

For men considering this regimen, I would caution them to protect their testes by holding an ice pack near their scrotum while they are in the sauna, as the testes weren’t designed for these types of high temperatures and there are some reports of impaired fertility in men who use sauna regularly.

Overall, regular sauna therapy, especially full-spectrum, near-, mid- and far-infrared low EMF sauna, can be a powerful adjunct to optimize your health through eliminating toxins and recharging your body with regenerating red and infrared wavelengths that energize your mitochondria and charge your water cellular battery.


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Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
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